Towards a Postcolonial Perspective on Climate Urbanism


The growing interest in urban areas as sites for climate action has led to new ways of conceiving and planning the urban. As climate actions reshape existing understandings of what cities are or ought to be, they constitute new modalities of what recent scholarship has referred to as ‘climate urbanism’. This research has framed climate urbanism as a climate‐inflected iteration of neoliberal urban development, geared towards the mobilization of ‘green’ private capital for large‐scale infrastructural projects, focused on carbon metrics, and conducive to population displacement through eco‐gentrification. In this intervention, we commend these efforts to deliver a critical perspective on how climate change gives rise to forms of urbanism that reproduce urban injustices without addressing the root causes of the climate crisis. However, we warn against two biases in recent scholarship, namely an emphasis on technological solutions and an overreliance on familiar contexts of climate action. The literature on climate urbanism does not yet reflect the diversity of urban responses emerging under the broad umbrella of urban climate action. Adopting a post‐colonial perspective on climate urbanism, we call for a greater engagement with the heterogeneous character of climate‐changed urban futures.